Future of Student Needs

Credentials

Blockchain: Helping Students Prove They’ve BTDT (Been There Done That) Since 2015

Emerging need: credentials

As futurists we are always eager to explore the social impacts of new technologies, one of which, Blockchain, is currently making the predictions lists of the world’s top trend watchers. Though expected to have transformative impacts on banking and tech, some of the lesser hyped applications of Blockchain speak directly to our research on students: education credentialing. We’ve suggested that one of the Emerging Needs for 2025 concerns the documentation of knowledge, skills and experiences—essentially that future students will need effective ways to show what they’ve learned. Could Blockchain become the go-to platform when it comes to future learning credentials?

In 2015 the first institution to offer academic credits stored on the Blockchain also issued paper diplomas to their students. But imagine a future where this well-known “piece of paper” becomes an anachronism. What will replace it?

Ultimately the role of Blockchain in meeting this need concerns earning and showing qualifications for obtaining employment or further schooling, so it really goes beyond the needs of the student and bleeds over into the needs of the individual as a functioning member of society. The advantage of digitally encrypted credentials stored in the Blockchain is that they can eliminate cheating via false resumes and speed up the verification of courses, grades, skills, etc. by a potential employer or school registrar. However, it’s tempting as well to see the potential for a Blockchain-based transcript or CV to limit the market value of traits such as emotional intelligence (which can be hard to “prove”) while inflating the value of technical or other empirically verifiable skills.